It has taken me a while to figure out what all this fuss is about with Maureen and the car. Then this morning it came to me like a bolt of lightning. When we worked together I would sometimes ask Maureen if I could borrow her car. Her colleagues in the office used to taunt her, and call me a cheeky monkey (or worse). They suggested she was mad for her kindness. After all I had a car of my own or my ex-wife did.
When the car issue surfaced again today there were threats of calling the police, if someone stole her car again. I was also asked if I had a car. Then there were accusations that I was supplying her with cheap tea in the morning. When I mentioned that her eldest son had bought her some Chistmas Tea, further ‘outing’ took place.
Maureen’s response to talk of her eldest son led her to say: ‘I’m thinking of sending him a post card, to ask him to forward a photograph, because I’ve forgotten what he looks like’. This is in sharp contrast to comments about her other son who phones regularly: he may be the beneficiary of her car. She mistakenly believes the poor man hasn’t a vehicle of his own, and could have hers until she is able to drive again.
What all of this confirms is that Maureen’s emotional memory is still intact. Sometimes, she is time- travelling, and mixes up people. However, she is generally clear who contacts her, and knows that phone calls are few, and far between, from some folk. Unfortunately, at the very time she needs even more contact with family, and friends, the phone line is quieter than ever. Apparently, this is a familiar tale when dementia is an unwelcome visitor to the cosy set up of most families.